OUR TEAM

Introducing Our Incredible Team: The Heart and Soul of Goat Hospitality Group

At Goat Hospitality Group, our leadership is the driving force behind our success. Our founders, along with our executive team, combine their unique perspectives and diverse backgrounds to provide strategic direction and operational expertise. Together, they share a commitment to excellence, innovation, and a steadfast belief in creating memorable experiences for our patrons.

EXECUTIVE TEAM

Derek Gonzalez

FOUNDER AND CEO, GOAT HOSPITALITY

Derek Gonzalez is the mastermind behind Goat Hospitality Group. He is known for his creative concepts and unmatched execution. Mr. Gonzalez has a background in both finance and marketing. During the height of a a successful career in finance, Derek took a leap in 2017 when he opened Pilo’s Street Tacos in honor of his Aunt Pilo. Aunt Pilo passed from complications from Down Syndrome, but her influence lives on in every concept under the brand. The mission of Goat Hospitality Group is simple: to be the largest employer of individuals with ‘special abilities. ‘

Since 2017, Derek has launched an additional 3 concepts and is slated to have a total of 10 operational concepts by year end. Mr. Gonzalez is a phenomenal operator with creative imagination and the know how to understand the demands of the market. While Derek’s ideas and work ethic are of the highest caliber, they are only outshined by his ability to recognize talents and abilities in others. He has successfully cultivated a team with varied experience that assists him in overseeing all aspects of Goat and its concepts.

Lisa Gonzalez, esq.

OWNER + LEGAL COUNSEL
Lisa Gonzalez, Esq. is Goat Hospitality Group’s In-House Counsel. Lisa is integral in the day-to-day management of Goat Hospitality Group. Her guidance and advice have propelled the brand and its individual concepts. During her tenure at GOAT she has negotiated several major deals, used her experience to draft ironclad contracts and provided legal guidance to the team.

Lisa obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami School of Law in 2013. Upon being admitted to the Florida Bar in 2014, Ms. Gonzalez went on to gain experience in real estate law, contracts, corporate and civil law. In addition, Lisa is a seasoned trial attorney who has successfully represented many clients throughout the State of Florida

OPERATIONS

Nathan P. Smith

CO-OWNER + FOUNDER OF NATHAN’S BEACH CLUB

Nathan P. Smith is the co-owner and founder of Nathan’s Beach Club, a LGBTQ+ bar and night club. A nightlife veteran himself, Smith brought a fresh perspective to the concept. Nathan’s main goal is to provide a safe and inclusive space for his patrons, and he works tirelessly to deliver. Nathan curates the music and programming nightly, to bring a fresh and pop culture forward experience.

For over 28 years, Nathan ran one of Miami’s must successful LGBTQ+ bars, Twist. Upon meeting Derek Gonzalez, Nathan was able to bring his lifelong dream to fruition in creating his own sacred space – Nathan’s Beach Club.

Stanfford M. Knight III

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Mr. Knight has a name that says it all. Stanfford J. Knight III, our Director of Operations has over 20 years’ experience in Hospitality and Food and Beverage Operations. He has opened and operated several exclusive, members-only properties such as Discovery Land Dune Deck in West Hampton Beach, NY ($2M membership fee) and Silo Ridge in Amenia, NY ($3.5M minimum property purchase), as the Director of Food and Beverage. Stanfford has also managed beverage operations for the Standard Hotel in Miami Beach, Versace Mansion, SLS Brickell Hotel & Residences and Clevelander Hotel. His knowledge and first-hand experience make him integral to the daily operations of our overall brand. , Stanfford collaborates with other Executive Team members to continuously create and implement operational directives that keep the Goat brands relevant, increase growth and keep focus on our patron’s experiences. Currently, Mr. Knight is involved in the day-to-day operations of Pilo’s Tequila Garden, Nathan’s Video Bar, Champagne Room and Pilo’s Street Tacos, while also working on the operational development of Goat’s upcoming concepts.

Mitchell Davis

DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING

Mitchell Davis has a proven track record in leadership, marketing and hospitality with over 15 years of experience within the dynamic realm of nightclubs, restaurants and hotels. He brings a wealth of experience to the hospitality industry. His leadership style is defined by strategic vision and effective team management, fostering an environment that thrives on innovation and customer satisfaction. Specializing in marketing, he has successfully implemented impactful campaigns, driving foot traffic and enhancing brand visibility. His expertise lies in creating memorable guest experiences, optimizing operational efficiency, and ensuring a vibrant and profitable nightlife and dining atmosphere.

Places he has worked, and driven leadership and success are Mr Jones Miami night club, Pilo’s Tequila Garden, SLS hotel south beach, W hotel south beach, LIV night club, story night club, Marion Miami, BAOLI, DAER day club at Hardrock hotel, COCO Miami design district and more…

Bryan Herrera

DIRECTOR OF NIGHTLIFE

In 2009 at the young age of 20, Bryan dominated the local 21 and over party scene by starting one of the most widely recognized parties “Heathrow Thursday’s” , which later lasted three years. Here is where Bryan was able to initially start his operational journey. As well as start managing his first set of DJs.

Due to this recognition, Bryan was recruited to work with The Opium Group, one of Miami’s top operational agencies of its time that ran venues on South Beach such as Louis, Mansion (now known as M2), Set (now known as Mr. Jones), Mokai (now known as Gala), and Prive (now known as Story).

In 2015, Bryan moved to Las Vegas to expand Rockwell Talent to the West coast, while further gaining knowledge in the nightlife industry. Upon moving back to Miami two years after, Bryan accepted a manager position to open what will become the busiest venue in Miami at the moment, The Wharf Miami. Since the Wharf, Bryan has focused his efforts on continuing Rockwell Talent, a one stop shop for Nightlife venues to connecting with local talent. Bryan holds a Bachelors degree in Hospitality

Michael Crucet

VIP DIRECTOR

Michael Crucet is the VIP Director for all nightlife concepts under the Goat Hospitality Group umbrella. With more than 18 years’ experience in hospitality, hotel and casino operations Mr. Crucet continually to find ways to raise the bar for our guests. Having managed operations at venues like Casino Miami Jai-Alai, SLS Hotel & Residences, Discovery Lands Dune Deck and Versace Mansion, he has cultivated a list of Miami’s most elite clients. Mr. Crucet has a rolodex which ranges from world renowned artists, celebrities and athletes to Wall Street’s executives and hedge fund managers. Michael Crucet is synonymous with creating an unmatched experience for our Patrons and is currently involved with VIP experiences at Pilo’s Tequila Garden, Nathan’s Video Bar and Champagne Room while continuing to develop unique experiences for our guests at our upcoming concepts.

Abelardo “tito” Vargas

CORPORATE EXECUTIVE CHEF

Abelardo Vargas, a Puerto Rican born in Jalisco, Mexico, and raised in San Juan Puerto Rico brings more than 20 years of restaurant industry experience in the luxury hospitality sector to Miami. Starting his career at a young age, he is able to bring an extensive culinary background in Caribbean, French, American and Mexican Cuisines. He began his career as a dishwasher and quickly climbed the ranks. He then relocated to Miami to pursue a degree in Culinary Arts. While in Miami he had the opportunity to work with the most recognized chefs in the city, such as Jonathan Eissmann, Robin Haas, Norman Van Aken and Michelle Bernstein. At age 29 he became the executive chef at a Relais Chateaux nominated hotel in Redondo Beach, California. At age 32 he relocated to his native land of Puerto Rico and partnered to lead the kitchen of a Pan-Asian restaurant driven by Caribbean flavors and supporting local sustainability. After that venture he opened his own upscale hamburger joint that received high accolades by local press.

Yulissa Escobar

VIP CONCIERGE

Yulissa Escobar is the VIP Concierge at Goat Hospitality Group. Yulissa builds relationships with top-tier clients, and continually strives to make our guests experiences better than their last. Yulissa manages customer contact and spend via CRM and uses that information to provide the highest level of hospitality across all Goat Hospitality Group concepts.

Eric Garcia

HUMAN RESOURCES

Eric Garcia is a Human Resources professional with over 15 years of experience working in hospitality, agriculture, retail, legal and infrastructure engineering companies. Has held Human Resources roles at Mastec, Lowe’s, Law offices of Carlos Fleites & Courtney Montiero, Costa Farms and Grand Beach Hotel Hospitality Group. As the Human Resources subject matter expert his expertise is both operational and strategic HR practices which include recruitment, employee engagement, performance management, benefits, payroll, safety and risk management. He also has extensive mergers and acquisition integration experience and union negotiations. Eric is currently the Human Resources Manager at GOAT Hospitality, and a member of SHRM

Alberto Morales

GM – NATHAN’S BEACH CLUB

With a passion for delivering exceptional guest experiences, Alberto’s journey in F&B management includes a significant role as the F&B Supervisor at Novotel Miami Brickell Accor where he honed his leadership skills and contributed to the success of the establishment.

Alberto’s commitment to excellence extends beyond operations to include expertise in liquor and inventory management, cost control, tips handling, and POS systems. With a Bachelor’s in Accounting from the University Del Zulia in Venezuela, I bring a unique blend of financial acumen and creative flair to the F&B landscape.

FINANCE TEAM

David Santos

DIRECTOR OF FINANCE

Portuguese, born and raised, David Santos has been working in the United States since 2010, first in the wine industry in Napa, California and then on the hospitality business in the East Coast.

With more than a decade of financial expertise in the hospitality sector, he is a results-driven professional with a reputation for delivering excellence and thinking outside the box. His journey took flight at the Pestana Group, the biggest Portuguese hospitality brand, where he led finance operations for hotels in the US and Portugal, fostering cross-continental collaboration. He played a key role in the successful openings of hotels in New York and Miami, earning recognition for meticulous budgeting, financial control and revenue management. Before joining Goat Hospitality Group, he worked as the CFO of the Savoy Hotel & Beach Club, #1 on Tripadvisor in Miami Beach, where he was entrusted with overseeing daily operations, strategic planning, and vendor management.

When asked what a Director of Finance does, he always remembers what he is supposed to do: deliver solutions where others see problems, not forgetting that hospitality is an industry to fulfill expectations and dreams.

Ana Rangel

ACCOUNTING MANAGER

Ana Rangel is a seasoned professional with a hardworking and enthusiastic attitude. Ana manages accounts payable along with our Director of Finance and is able to multi-task while keeping a positive attitude and execptional customer service experience. Ana has a keeneye for numbers and works in tandem with the team to create our company’s statements, and projections for both current and future projects.

BULL MERCHANT SERVICES

Christian Perez

COO | BMS

Christian Perez, is a Sales Professional with a passion for closing deals. Beginning his journey in sales 13 years ago in the Aviation industry, Christian veered into the Merchant Service sector for the last 2 years. He has established himself as a innovative/accomplished expert in Merchant Services.

During his 11 years in the Aviation Industry Christian managed to grow and lead a sales force into closing contracts from all over the world. Christian decided to shift his way into the merchant service industry and has been able to cultivate success and growth throughout his two years.

At Bull Merchant Services, Christian manages and oversees a Sales Force as well as a Customer Support team that provides current and future merchants 24/7 support 365 days a year.

FROZARITAS

Derek Gonzalez

CO-CEO

Derek Gonzalez is the mastermind behind Goat Hospitality Group. He is known for his creative concepts and unmatched execution. Mr. Gonzalez has a background in both finance and marketing. During the height of a a successful career in finance, Derek took a leap in 2017 when he opened Pilo’s Street Tacos in honor of his Aunt Pilo. Aunt Pilo passed from complications from Down Syndrome, but her influence lives on in every concept under the brand. The mission of Goat Hospitality Group is simple: to be the largest employer of individuals with ‘special abilities. ‘

Since 2017, Derek has launched an additional 3 concepts and is slated to have a total of 10 operational concepts by year end. Mr. Gonzalez is a phenomenal operator with creative imagination and the know how to understand the demands of the market. While Derek’s ideas and work ethic are of the highest caliber, they are only outshined by his ability to recognize talents and abilities in others. He has successfully cultivated a team with varied experience that assists him in overseeing all aspects of Goat and its concepts.

James Vitrano

CO-CEO

James has a combined 20 years of legal, executive, M&A, employment, and franchise experience in a variety of industries with a deep focus in the structuring and scaling of multiple offerings in the F&B/Restaurant sectors. James also partners with ownership and executives to assist in strategic operational planning and execution; executive development; structure to scale; and, FP&A. He has significant experience in the buying and selling of various size businesses.

Currently, James is a partner in various hospitality ownership groups launching or growing various concepts serving as owners/investors, operators, and/or franchisors. He is a proud co-owner of Sucré, a New Orleans-based patisserie franchise, where he is also the CEO of the growing brand. Additionally, James is a co-founder of Table 23, an F&B consulting firm specializing in assisting emerging and legacy brands scale and improve profitability.

Prior to the above, James was the CEO, President, COO and a member of the Board of the parent company of Fat Tuesday – one of the world’s first and largest retailers of frozen specialty alcoholic beverages. During his tenure, his team created a dual brand franchising system; nearly doubled EBDITA despite a global pandemic; and, delivered over 80% new store/pipeline growth from original store count. James successfully led the sale of the company for the founding family to a strategic buyer.

Prior to Fat Tuesday, he was the Vice President of Global Franchise for Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (RTI). He led global operations for the RTI franchise system with over 60 stores on five continents and over $100MM in topline sales. At RTI, James also served as the General Counsel of the then- publicly traded company. He led a team that handled all legal, risk and employee relations matters for Ruby Tuesday and its 25,000 team members. In that role, James led the strategic alternatives process for the eventual $150MM public-to-private sale of RTI.

ADVISORY BOARD

Nick Fielding

ADVISORY

London-born Nick Fielding began his career in hospitality when he enrolled in a hospitality program at the University of Brighton.

Upon graduation, he relocated to the United States to work at Turnberry Isle Resort a Rafael Hotel in Aventura, Florida. He honed his skills at the property for seven years, where he specialized in restaurant management and food and beverage operations. Nick then continued westward, landing at Wolfgang Puck’s famed eatery Spago, Beverly Hills, where he excelled in his role as Assistant General Manager for over three years. During his time at Spago, the restaurant received the coveted James Beard award for Outstanding Service and Outstanding Chef, West. Nick credits his greatest career development at Spago, under who would become his career mentor Chef/Managing Partner Lee Hefter.

Nick would crisscross the U.S. before landing at Groot Hospitality with David Grutman, with stints at the luxe Little Palm Island Resort in the Florida Keys, and at Wilshire, an innovative Los Angeleno restaurant. His unique and versatile expertise— between hotels and restaurants—is what made him an ideal fit for Groot, where he held the role of Vice President of Restaurant & Lounge Operations. Fielding oversaw all of the company’s restaurant properties, with a focus on new openings (most recently, Gekkō with international superstar Bad Bunny) and before that, The Key Club in coconut Grove and The Goodtime Hotel along with its restaurant, Strawberry Moon and day club The Pool at Strawberry Moon.

In his role on the advisory board of GOAT Hospitality, Nick will contribute to all business, operational and development aspects of the business verticals under the GOAT umbrella of brands including the full service restaurant brands; Pilo’s Cantina and Mia; the nightlife brands, LunaSol, Pilo’s Tequila Garden and Nathans Beach Club; the QSR concept Pilo’s Street Tacos and the Frozerita brand.

“I try to learn something from everybody,” says Fielding. “Everybody has something to offer, I’m including back waiters, food runners, dishwashers, managers, absolutely everyone. I’ve been lucky enough to work with so many special people from all walks of life, so I try to take tidbits of knowledge from all of these roles and apply them to my own experience and give back to the industry however I can. “